Frank Vincent Zappa (1940-1993) was an American musician, composer, and bandleader. He is considered one of the most innovative and eclectic figures in rock music, blending various genres including rock, jazz, classical, and experimental music. He was also known for his satirical and often controversial lyrics. Zappa released over 60 albums throughout his career, both as a solo artist and with his band, The Mothers of Invention. He also composed orchestral works, film scores, and stage musicals. Zappa was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
Zappa's upbringing was unique due to his father's job as a chemist and mathematician in the defense industry, which exposed him to chemicals and mustard gas.
As a child, Zappa was exposed to chemical warfare and his father would bring lab equipment filled with mercury home from work for him to play with.
This early exposure to elemental mercury may have contributed to Zappa's diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer in 1990, which ultimately led to his death in 1993.
As a child, Zappa also suffered from asthma, earaches and sinus issues, and was treated with radium pellets inserted into his nostrils by a doctor.
Zappa's childhood experiences with chemical warfare, mercury and nasal imagery are recurring themes in his music.